The Titans trailed Jacksonville 14-3 in a miserable first-half showing, but rallied for 21 unanswered second-half points to put away the Jaguars and claim a 24-14 victory to improve to 10-0 with the New York Jets awaiting them Sunday at home.
Tennessee rallied behind the suddenly potent arm of quarterback Kerry Collins, who shrugged off a lackluster first half to complete nine of 13 second-half throws for 144 yards and three touchdowns. It marked the first time since Dec. 31, 2005, when he was with the Oakland Raiders, that Collins had thrown three touchdown passes in a game. Two weeks ago, Collins had just three touchdown passes for the season.
It helped to erase the sting of a first-half struggle that had the Titans 0-for-6 on third down plus a first-half interception from Collins.
"They find a way," offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger said. "I'm getting a lot of gray hair, and I don't know if I can keep taking it, but the great thing is I love the way they compete. I've said from the beginning that I love the way these guys work at it and compete and they don't panic."
Collins continues to spread the ball around when he has to throw. The week before, it was tight end Bo Scaife and Brandon Jones combining for 16 catches and 160 yards. Sunday it was two deep bombs to Justin Gage, who had four catches for a career-high 147 yards and two scores.
"We got the one-on-ones outside and we won the battle," coach Jeff Fisher said. "It's about time. It's been weeks since we've hooked up on some deep balls. Kerry did a nice job."
Collins said the Titans knew they would have to take some shots downfield against Jacksonville's secondary in order to win.
"We were ready to take some shots today," Collins said. "We felt if we were going to win this game, we would have to make some plays down the field."
The Titans will be facing the Jets somewhat shorthanded in the secondary. Cornerback Eric King, starting in place of Nick Harper (ankle), suffered a broken forearm early in the second quarter and will require surgery. It is a refracture of the injury that ended his season last year. The Titans also lost cornerback Reynaldo Hill to a hip pointer on a special teams play. King will miss at least six weeks.
Chris Carr, who had played only on special teams and as the Titans' return man, was forced into the lineup Sunday with King and Harper out, and had a fourth-quarter interception as well as two pass breakups.
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